Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Building Things by Christine DePetrillo

Every summer, The Husband and I are involved in some project. We’ve built a barn, vinyl sided a house and barn, installed wood flooring, built a tavern room (named Black Wolf Tavern for the bar in my Maple Leaf Series and for my werewolf of a black German Shepherd), landscaped properties, and constructed a wood shed to name a few of our endeavors. This year’s summer adventure was making a 500 square foot patio complete with a fire pit.

I’m always amazed at the thought that goes into these projects. The steps are many and the order important. One doesn’t just slap a patio down. In our case, a huge retaining wall had to be built of granite boulders. The wall had to be backfilled and leveled then filled with gravel for drainage.

The fire pit came next so it would look as if it were built into the patio itself. Pavers and bricks came together in a circle to contain many future blazes. S’mores are on the horizon. The only way I’ll eat marshmallows.

A layer of stone dust topped that and finally the irregular flagstone finished it off. Let me just say that irregular flagstone and OCD don’t mix. Yikes. One has to release the idea of perfection and accept that if you want a wild, woodsy look, you need to give up being particular about tight joints, patterns, and precision leveling. That was hard for us, but we muddled through.

And the result is exactly what we pictured.

I love these projects. It’s how The Husband and I define fun. We’d rather being doing things like this than sunbathing on some tropical beach somewhere. Plus, it’s awesome exercise. We both feel great physically. All those muscles ache just mean we’re alive and it’s good to be alive.

I’m eager to enjoy that patio and fire pit, especially in autumn, surrounded by the reds, oranges, and yellows of the trees and our mountain views. I also think the space will be conducive to writing with plenty of stimulating landscape to spark my imagination. Nothing gets my Muse revved like spending time in nature. Sometimes I think Mother Nature IS my Muse.

And I’m cool with that.

Summer is over now and school has started back up. I wonder what we’ll build next year.

Have you been involved in any major projects? If so, what? If not, what would you like to try your hand at?



Leah St. James said...

Wonderful project, Chris. It looks amazing! You and The Husband must be quite skilled at DIY stuff! TPM (hubby) and I used to do a lot of projects around our home (replacing an exterior wall, lighting, flooring, pool and fence installation and the usual painting/wallpapering), but after a long stint of apartment living, the DIY bug died in us. Our current house needs painting, new flooring and more, and I start to ache just looking at it all. I know it needs to be done, but I'd so much rather just hire someone these days! Thanks for sharing your new fire pit. Wishing you many hours of enjoyment and a wonderful school year!

Jannine Gallant said...

Terrific job on the patio! My husband is staining the house this summer. I made him a sandwich to keep him going. Does that count? Hey, construction is his job, so I'm happy to let him do it when it comes to projects around the house. He's been making noise about getting a load of firewood. I'll have to suck it up and help stack it. I'd rather write...

Rolynn Anderson said...

Chris, you're so right about the joy (and the physical effort) of working on a project with our fellas. May I also say that saving the money by DIY is more than smart...it changes futures. My husband and I built our first house together on an acre we had to clear. We hired out the foundation and the studding portion...and did the rest...plumbing, electrical, siding, roofing...EVERYTHING! That house (and our sweat equity), when we sold it 18 years later, changed our lives monetarily. I know exactly how much sweat went into your project and how satisfying it is. Our big project now, the landscaping front and back of our house, is something new...we design, but have someone else do the work, at my direction. I keep thinking...all our DIY projects allow me to watch someone else work...today. Enjoy your deck...it's wonderful!

Margo Hoornstra said...

That patio and fire pit really are beautiful. This summer for us was replacing a ceramic kitchen floor that never really had looked right. Then we went one step further, ripping up the seen better days carpet in the dining room half of our living room/dining room area and replacing it all with wood 'look' plank flooring. It looks beautiful and the upkeep is so easy. Full disclosure, our talented out for the summer teacher son in law who did much of the finish work. Although, after I unloaded the china cabinet so it could be moved, I decided to repaint all three rooms. Something I'd been threatening to do for about five years now. It was a real race to stay ahead of the floor laying with my ladder and paint roller. Not looking for another project any time soon. But then, there are very and old and looking it interior doors I'd like to replace....

Brenda Whiteside said...

I can understand how you'd get so much enjoyment from building and then using. I come from a construction family and I'd enjoy it. But alas, my hubby is loathe to do anything like that. When we moved to the farm (a 4 year project that is now over) he said...you know I don't play in dirt. And he didn't.

Diane Burton said...

Your new patio is fantastic. A wonderful place to relax, esp. in the fall. At our age, Hubs & I are slowing down and accepting that we can't do all the DIY projects.